Sahar Mansoor calls herself an “accidental entrepreneur.”
The 27-year-old studied in the UK, where she earned a degree in environmental policy and planning at Cambridge University. Mansoor’s road to entrepreneurship began when she went back home to Bangalore, India in 2015 for work. There, she began helping her sister, who had just had a baby. “We were producing so much waste,” Mansoor says. “I decided to stop being part of the waste problem and start being part of the solution.”
As a first step, Mansoor stopped buying personal care products in plastic containers, which can take 700 years or more to decompose. She rediscovered ancient Indian recipes for soap, shampoo and toothpaste. “Our grandmothers were probably all zero-wasters. This lifestyle used to be for everyone.”
Soon, Mansoor’s talks on her zero-waste lifestyle at local flea markets attracted people’s interest and boosted awareness on the garbage crisis. The more people got involved, the more people started asking “where can I buy these zero-waste products?”
Responding to the demand, Mansoor founded her company, Bare Necessities, in 2016. Based in Bangalore (the “Silicon Valley of India”) it sells environmentally-friendly products, such as soap bars, compostable bamboo toothbrushes and steel straws, in recyclable, reusable and biodegradable packaging.